STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 December 2013

Shrink Wrapped

©Gerhard Boeggemann (His site is not working lately, so it is not linked)
Hypotheses from Sander et al. (shared Tuesday) state that something like Europasaurus would have become "rapidly dwarfed" after its habitat began to shrink rapidly around it. There is the idea that Europasaurus and other island dwelling dinosaurs immigrated or were washed ashore upon islands after tidal waves or some other sort of calamity. This could have happened and a rapid, occurring in only a very few generations, evolution could have forced animals like Europasaurus to begin to "shrink" rather quickly. Shrink is the wrong word really; selection favoring smaller members of the species is a more appropriate phrasing. Should this "shrinking" selection have occurred over a much longer timeline, however, the results would have been similar if not identical. A longer timeline could be the result of changing habitat limits; rising water levels or increased erosion lowering landmasses, shifting of landmasses, earthquakes, etc. Any number of interactions possibly created the islands on which Europasaurus lived. Paleogeographic and paleoecological studies have begun to explain how these islands came about and more and more miniaturized species are being discovered as time progresses; Balaur, Magyarosaurus, Telmatosaurus, and Europasaurus are only a handful of dwarfed species. The dwarfism of Europasaurus is exceptional though in that Macronarians were some of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth and a dwarfed species of such large animals are quite intriguing.

No comments:

Post a Comment